Your IP address is great – it’s what makes it possible for you to access the web in the first place.
And since it does so much for you, you should also do it a favor, and hide it.
“Wait, why should I do that?”
- Content providers can restrict your access to certain web pages based on it.
- Workplaces and schools can use firewalls to restrict what you can and can’t do on the Internet since they link specific inbound and outbound traffic rules to the IP address the network assigns to your device.
- People can use your IP address to locate your network and DoS/DDoS it to take it offline – especially when you play online games.
- Cybercriminals can use your IP address to find out personal stuff about you – what country and city you live in, who your ISP is, and what your ZIP code is.
- Admins can stop you from playing on your favorite gaming server by banning your IP address.
Here Are 6 Ways to Hide Your IP Address
I’ll start with the most efficient tips, and move on to the less convenient ones:
1. Use a VPN
A VPN is an online service that hides your IP address the moment you connect to a VPN server.
That’s very useful since you can easily switch between servers to change your IP address on the spot.
Best of all – VPNs can either provide a dynamic or static IP address according to your needs.
Besides that, though, a VPN also encrypts your traffic. That’s the best way to make sure nobody spies on what you do on the web. If they try to take a look, they’ll just see gibberish.
2. Use a Proxy Server
Like a VPN, a proxy server will also hide your IP address when you connect to it.
A proxy has a local cache where it saves web pages too. If you request a saved web page, you’ll get it faster than if you were to access it on the web.
However, I wouldn’t really recommend using a proxy server to protect your privacy. It might hide your IP address, but it won’t encrypt your traffic as strongly as a VPN does.
And if you accidentally use an HTTP proxy instead of an HTTPS one, the proxy’s owner might be able to see your traffic.
3. Use Your Mobile Data or Connect to a WiFi Network
It’s pretty simple – when you switch on mobile data, you connect to a different network. So, you get a new IP address.
Of course, this method isn’t exactly going to do much for you. It won’t help you unblock geo-restricted content or hide your digital footprints.
At most, it might be a good way to avoid dealing with targeted ads and DoS/DDoS attacks on your laptop or computer.
That and you can’t exactly use mobile data 24/7 – unless you have an unlimited data plan, of course.
As for WiFi networks, they can hide your original IP address since they assign you a new one when you connect to them.
But it’s not really worth it.
Also, it’s not very convenient. I mean, you have to take your laptop or mobile, and head over to the nearest coffee shop or a friend’s house every single time you want to do this.
4. Use Tor
Tor is an anonymity network that bounces your traffic between multiple servers to secure it. Also, it hides your IP address whenever you connect to the web through it.
Though I have to say – Tor gets the job done, sure, but I can’t fully recommend it as a safe way to change your IP address.
Sure, it got fixed, but it was enough to cause worry.
Also, don’t expect fast speeds with Tor – there just aren’t enough servers for the total number of users.
5. Unplug the Modem
Basically, the idea is to unplug your modem, leave it like that for a few hours, and hope that your ISP assigns you a new IP address.
To improve your odds, you can do the following:
- Open the Command Prompt, and type ipconfig/release.
- Hit Enter, type ipconfig/renew, and hit Enter again.
- Next, shut down the computer.
- Unplug your modem, and turn off Ethernet switches and hubs if you have them.
- Wait around for a few hours (maybe overnight).
- Turn on the switches, plug the modem back in, and start your computer.
If you have to unplug your router instead of a modem, you can follow the same steps. But you’ll need to release and renew your IP address in the router’s console.
To find out how to do that, check your router’s manual since it’s different depending on the brand.
Now, here are the problems with this method:
- First, it’s not convenient. Doing all of that every time you want to hide your IP address is a hassle.
- Secondly, this won’t really help you avoid DoS/DDoS attacks, and unblock geo-restricted content. I’m not even going to mention firewalls since it’s not like you can do this at work or school.
- Lastly, this only works if you have a dynamic IP address. If it’s a static one, it won’t change.
6. Talk with Your ISP
If all else fails or doesn’t sound appealing to you, you can always have a chat with your ISP, and ask them to change your IP address.
They won’t always agree, though, so keep that in mind.
I personally tried this one time two years ago. My ISP was willing to give me a new IP address, but they said they won’t do it again.
Needless to say I eventually switched to a different ISP, but that’s not the kind of thing I see myself doing every single time I want to get a new IP address.